Interview with IAM, The City Nightclub, Portland, OR 8/16/96

Jester: Could you introduce yourselves for people who don't know you?

Shawn: I am Shawn and I play keyboards.

AP: I am Arthur and I am the mystical trip behind the words.

Jester: Could you go into a little detail about how the IAM project came about from the remnants of Factor Red and Suspiria?

AP: IAM came from a spiritual experience that I had when I was thirteen that has evolved over time to become that which I believe is the ultimate experience the alternative music scene can achieve. Pushing toward actually making a positive change in the world rather than hating and oppressing. We can affirm and conquer through the strength of positive energy. It has evolved over time from my experience that positive energy can change more than pure aggression. Aggression must be transformed into positive energy. The basic concept of IAM is that IAM is affirmation. Hypnosis, religion, non religion, existence, perfect, perfect, wavelength.

Jester: Did you have a significant negative event that spark this concept?

AP: I was once in a very negative band called Soul Maggot. It was a very bad experience. The only way to fight off that type of existence if to have a great deal of life force. IAM is the ultimate way to defend yourself against negative energies. So, yes at one point I recognized that certains types of emotion and desire were the things that brought you down. The things that opened a person up were things like liberation, transformation, and change in action. They keep the negative aspects at bay and yet still had the same kinds of piercing energy to be able to change things.

Jester: At what point did you realize that you could not create IAM on your own and that you needed someone else to help you in live performances?

AP: First, I realized that I needed to perform alone away from the negativity of previous group projects. Then once I was on my own I realized out of the blue that I needed Shawn to go out and do his own thing for a few months and perform with other people and then come back and join my band. He agreed, went away for about eight months and now he is back here today helping me out with my performance. He actually came up to speed so fast for this show that I was really amazed.

Jester: When you actually sit down and compose music, do you use any type of formal structure or method?

AP: I use quantum mechanics. Instead of writing things in terms of individual sounds, I write them in wave chunks. Quantum mechanics dictates that no one particle can be found, rather only patterns and series of particles making up the whole can be isolated.

Jester: Have you ever been affected by any other outside stimuli, whither it be an artist, political event, or culture?

Shawn: Many many influences. I listen to a lot of techno and really dancy types of music.

AP: All of the lyrics and music are channeled in a meditation ritual. There are eight posters made for the show each with different symbols of magical alignment. They are a vector only for the channeling of the music and they entire me as a group. The energy is a culmination of group wavelength energy fields that can transfer positive forces. This energy is derived from the youth.

Jester: Is this a message you would like to pass along to your audience?

AP: Yes.

Jester: Do you feel that you are restricted by the common rules of music to communicate this message?

AP: No that is why have of the music is in Enochian, Hebrew, Sanskrit, and several other major languages.

Jester: Do you feel that the audience might not be able to grasp that kind of depth from you music? Or is that not the point?

AP: That is the point. Ultimately we would like to align people on a balanced emotional level. That is why the band is called IAM. The band name in itself elucidates that we want to attract a group. For a first performance we want to shock the group as well. We have many songs that have already been written that have a much more balanced lyrical content. The chorus of the song that is becoming really popular in this club is, "Circles crossing, oval eyes, silence changing, worlds changing, new belief coursed through desire, a channel of our hearts fire." That can't be anything but a pop song yet we put it in a format that becomes very aggressive. So it is a crossover for a meaningful spiritual content with and aggressive edge.

Jester: Have either of you had any type of formal musical training of any kind or has all of your musical knowledge been self taught?

AP: I taught myself how to read and write music when I was really young. I then pretty much let go of it for a few years until I took a few classes again. The rest has been self taught.

Shawn: I am all self taught. I taught myself everything that I do. It is like second nature to me. If you put me behind a piano, I can't play, but if you put me behind a keyboard where I am programming and I can make great music.

Jester: What other musical projects have you been involved with besides IAM?

Shawn: I just recently got off a tour with My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. It was a three month tour. Besides that it has just been myself. I've played a few parties and dances. I've sat behind a lot of turntables making other peoples music better.

Jester: Do you have similar musical motivations that you share with AP in this particular musical endeavor?

Shawn: Yes. The thing about working with AP is that you have two different ways of making music that combine really well together. So working with AP was like finding my soul mate. He was somebody who was totally opposite from me that when we work together we are almost a single entity.

AP: Shawn is a person that puts a massive emotional output into a moment and I am kind of like human robot who channels silicon based energy fields. I think I have sat in front of a keyboard for maybe the last ten years of my life. Shawn has worked with a lot so many different people that he has become a well rounded person whereas I have been focused into a singular entity.

Jester: Do you feel that doing performing only vocal work on stage limits you because you do spend so much time behind a keyboard?

AP: I originally started as singer. I ended up working on keyboards because I wanted a more digital sound. Industrial is very neat, but new wave music particularly inspires me. So I had to learn the keyboards to compose this music. This show was just the beginning concept of the band. In the future we will be adding two more members. There will also be a great deal of performance art as well. For now we are just trying to gain some recognition by playing with the two of us. Eventually a team of six to eight individuals who have helped me in the past will become portion of the band. For the show we had a guy paint three thousand dollars worth of art because he really want to see the band go somewhere. Shawn is here because he feels that the spiritual emotion is right. We are going to open up more but it takes just a couple of people to get up on stage with music to prove that you are a band first. Then we can add more art.

Jester: What lured you to this specific type of electronic music as opposed to any other style of music?

AP: I think you have to hear more music to really understand. I have hours of music that is so different than what you heard tonight that you couldn't understand the answer to that question. Tonight we wanted to perform music with a lot of beat behind it to get people into the band. We have so much stuff that is more melodic and spiritual.

Jester: Where do you see the band going now that it has had it's first performance?

AP: We want to have major label success for spiritual reasons. IAM as a band name creates a positive affirmation for people visualing the band name. I am not saying that you can't used IAM for negative reasons, but it doesn't have the same level of effect. IAM is a positive type of spiritual hypnosis. For that reason we are seeking to obtain the highest positive potential for our band starting with the first performance tonight.

Jester: Is there anything else you would like to add in conclusion?

AP: The most important thing I would like to add is that every single single young person owes it to themselves to change to a more positive type if they choose to change the world. Anger must be transformed into freedom. Revolution into liberation. All of our anti's into pro's. So that we may change things while we are here.

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